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What is the purpose of life, when death is certain?
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
8 min
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Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji, what is the purpose of life if death comes and the body is born again and again?

Acharya Prashant (AP): When do worries exist?

Q: When you are scared.

AP: When you are still alive, and breathing, and bodily. Right? And that’s how we are born, worried, afraid, insecure. If you take Biology as nature, then it is natural to suffer. But those who have known have told us that Biology is not what you call as natural. The word ‘natural’ as used commonly in the English language is misplaced. If you go to Sanskrit, Sanskrit will say this physical nature, this biological nature is Prakṛti, and true nature is Swabhaba. The English language unfortunately has only one word, ‘nature’. So, it gets very confusing. You start calling the body as natural, the body is not natural, the body is merely Prakṛtik. Nature is something else, nature is not perceivable, nature is empty and very full of joy only.

So, we are born crying. That is biological nature. Suffering is inherent in our genes, in our DNA, and that’s how we live.

Q: But suffering is not afraid-ness.

AP: Of course, it is, I mean, anything that troubles you just call it suffering, there is no need to dissect it too much.

Q: It is good to look on suffering but afraid-ness has no use.

AP: Is it possible not to be afraid, and still suffer, it’s not possible.

Q: You think so?

AP: Of course! It’s not even a matter of even thought. Fear is the thought, the perception that you might lose something. And what else is suffering? The perception, the feeling that something is at stake; that something is being hurt, wounded, or taken away.

Fear and suffering go together, they cannot be differentiated. But if you are talking of pain then it is different matter.

Q: Pain, I talked about pain.

AP: Ah! That the difference, of course then there is a difference.

So, man is born crying, and the wails only grow louder as man moves through life. And then there is death.

Why was man born? To cry all his life and then perish?

If you look at the whole thing then maybe something about death will appear. Death is a point in time, right. That’s what you call as the incidence of death. And life you call as a stretch in time. Isn’t time an opportunity then, for change, real change? Time is anyway defined as change in space. Isn’t time also an opportunity for genuine change? Before time ends for the physical organism and the moment of death arrives. Isn’t time an opportunity to move into the timeless? And if one hasn’t done that before his physical death. Hasn’t he just wasted his life?

One can live rightly, one can live wrongly, physical death anyway arrives. Why not taste what it means to live rightly before death arrives?

Q: Good opportunity.

AP: Good opportunity. As we are, we are constantly longing for change. And this situation must disappear. That’s what is called as genuine change. What we usually ask for is superficial change. Why? Because even if we change, we still want more change. So, that is no change at all.

Those who have know said, “change a final time, change the last time such that you are never again required to change.” If the teaching is that no change is needed and remain as you are, it’s a very-very poisonous teaching. Because as you are, you are turbulent and always crazy for change. You must be told that you need one final change, and it’s then a dimensional shift. The kind of change that we are accustom to is, “I am here, then I moved here, then I get here, but whatever I do it’s all in the same dimension.” Real spiritual change is when you see that all this is just so stupid. And that seeing elevates you.

Now, the sky is yours and, in the sky, there are no boundaries, or points, or demarcation. So, you can keep flying freely in the sky of no change. A lot of change is happening, you are flying freely. Yet there is no change because sky is infinite, in infinity no point can have any location. And yet there can be a lot of changeless change.

On the earth in your finite dimension, “This is not okay, this is not sufficient, let me have that, let me accomplish that.” And having done all of that you are still thirsty.

Q: In that search, you can go after another dimension.

AP: You see that.

(Laughter)

‘Not nice to play this game, this game will consume me, I will end, this game will never end. I better opt-out.’

Q: So, you have any suggestions on how it works?

AP: If you can really see that there is a blemish on your forehead, some dust, some dirt. And the mirror shows you that. After that does the mirror have to advise you what to do next? Here is a mirror, the mirror has shown us where we stand and who we are. What bigger and better suggestion do you need? If I now make a suggestion it would be an imposition. It would be an unnecessary authority. Why take that?

Q: So, do you say that change, you say your wanting for that one change, would you say it happens gradually, or would it be like boom! It happened.

AP: Both possibilities are there, it depends on you. If you are someone who likes thing gradual, it will happen gradually for you. If you are someone who is bold enough to just jump into cold water, it can happen instantaneously for you.

Both are there and both things have happened historically as well.

Q: Then how do you know it has happened?

AP: You lose a lot, you lose a lot, so, it feels light.

(Laughter)

No divine sparkles from me, I am sorry. Very simple thing it is, you feel okay.

Have you ever had a headache? How does it feel after the headache?

That’s enlightenment.

The head is still there. The head hasn’t rocketed away to the heavens. The head is still there very much on your shoulders. It's just that the head is not aching anymore.

You see, this side of the road there are many Cafes, the kind of change that we are accustomed to is café hopping. ‘I am in this café then for a change I go to that café, and that café, and that café.’ Doesn’t matter which café I go to, I remain on this side of the road. And that side of the road there is the Ganga. A point comes you are tired of café hopping then you just sprung into the Ganga. That’s liberation.

Q: Ganga has not changed.

AP: Because it keeps changing every time.

Q: Yes, yes! (Laughter)

AP: You can’t take a picture of the Ganga and ever find Ganga that same way. Would it be possible? That’s the thing with the absolute as well. You can’t picturise it.

Q: Someone said to me, “Rishikesh is here because Ganga is here.”

AP: That’s true. And Ganga is here because of the invisible source of the Ganga, ‘Shiv’ pervades everything. That’s how the world is, you know, there is That and there is this. And both are very-very proximate. You can decide where you want to be. That’s Rishikesh, that’s also the world.

Q: It's not easy to decide what you want, where you want to be really.

AP: But the remembrance that ‘whereever That is, this too is near to That’ is important. Which means one has power, one has choice, one has the capability to leave that and be somewhere else.

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